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Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Doing my part to irritate Republicans, fundamentalists, bigots and other lower life forms.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Getting in touch with your inner-Old Testament wrath

Since it's been over a month since I set fingers to keyboard and wrote anything on this blog, I'm tempted to start off with "While I was away due my abduction of aliens ..." or "Sorry to have been away so long on my secret mission to reset all the Diebold voting machines ... ." Instead, my excuse is much more prosaic: I had too many commitments and not enough time. Oh sure there were numerous times when I thought about blogging. And there certainly were a lot of topics worth blogging about ... the Mark Foley scandal involving male Congressional pages, the election, Arizona's defeat of a same-sex marriage ban, the ousting of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the shell-shocked look on Dubya's face the day after the election, the downfall of meth-crazed closet-case bottom-boy Ted Haggard, and my usual potshots in the cultural war against fun-D'uh-Mental-ists. Any and all of those topics are certainly blog-worthy, but what brought me out of blog semi-seclusion was pondering this question:

Can Soulforce, a group founded by now openly gay former ghostwriter for Jerry Falwell, have its collective nose any further up the ass of the religious right?

Consider this:

LGBT ecumenical group Soulforce is calling on gays to offer compassion to the Rev. Ted Haggard - the minister who despite a history of bashing gays from the pulpit was ousted by his superchurch when it was disclosed he had a longtime relationship with a hustler.

Soulforce wants gays to write letters of support and concern for Haggard.

"This is obviously a moment of personal, familial, and professional crisis for Rev. Haggard," said Soulforce spokesperson Paige Schilt.

Schlit said that Soulforce acknowledges that many in the gay community feel legitimate anger toward Haggard for his history of religion-based oppression.

At least the timid assimilationists at Soulforce are right on one point: many of us DO feel legitimate anger toward Haggard, a man who harangued his 14,000-member flock in Colorado Springs about the evils of homo-seck-shuls but made monthly trips to Denver to pay a male prostitute to give him a hands-free prostate massage.

It's hard to work up more than half a thimble full of compassion for someone like Haggard who spends his life in the eye of a hurricane of hypocrisy. His wife and kids? Sure, I have no problem summoning up compassion for them. After all, they weren't the ones who put themselves in the situation they find themselves in. But as for Ted, I have a hard time restraining myself from sending a letter as Soulforce suggests ... but one that reads Burn in your own homo hell, hypocrite.

Ironically, Haggard may soon find himself in homo hell. Teddy will be working for "restoration," a code word of the religious right for ex-gay brainwashing. No less of a proponent of "reparative therapy" than Joseph Nicolosi, founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, suggests that he could help Haggard if the evangelist was prepared for "deep, emotional work."

So what happens when Teddy goes through the hell on earth of the type of ex-gay therapies that have left behind so much emotional wreckage among gays and lesbians who have been subjected to at the hands of pedatory ex-gay snake-oil salesmen?

I'm betting he'll announce himself cured and be photographed with his wife and kids with that humongus smile on those lips that have found themselves wrapped around gay prostitute Mike Jones' love muscle numerous times. I'm also betting that he'll be a lot more discreet next time he invites a guy to take a ride on his Hershey highway.

If Haggard emerges from his pray-away-the-gay "restoration process" as an honest man, he'll say, "Nope, I still want to chug weinies." Given his history of duplicity and hyprocisy, I'm inclined to doubt that will happen.

Oh, but if it did what a day that would be. Perhaps then it would become clear that these ex-gay programs not only don't work, but are harmful. Then I would have all the compassion in the world for Haggard.

I'm glad there are groups like Soulforce who preach compassion, even to those who have shown no compassion to them. While I've always tried to believe in the biblical admonishment to turn the other cheek, I think it's important to point out that the Bible fails to make clear exactly how we should react when we run out of cheeks to turn. And when it comes to the fun-D'uh-Mental-ists who rake in the dough by stirring up hatred toward gays and lesbians, we ran out of cheeks a long time ago.

Soulforce is too quick to hold out an olive branch to folks like Haggard and Falwell and Dobson. For a religious-based LGBT organization, it would be nice to see them once in a while get in touch with their inner-Old Testament wrath when it comes to dealing with fundies.